This research explores the current state of riparian communities in Northern Thailand. Historically, these communities have shared a deep economic, social, and cultural connection to the country‟s rivers. Now, the construction of dams threatens the very foundation of this cultural bedrock. This study further examines the effects dams would have on local village communities and the mobilization behind village protests that are against these developmental projects. Within Northern Thailand‟s great river basin network, I was able to visit sections of three rivers. I concentrated on the village Don Chai, which exemplifies resistance to changing the relationship between community and river. Through interviews, home stays, and participant observation I was able to collect information for this research. This study draws on Mauss‟s conception of total social fact and how water is a total social fact. Orlove and Caton‟s waterworld framework builds off of Mauss‟s interpretation to illustrate that water is multi-dimensional and permeates multiple domains within society. Finally, I draw on Michael Dove‟s political ecology theory to illustrate the political relationship between humans and the environment. Thus, the importance of water‟s connectivity should not be underestimated as it permeates and sustains all facets of society.


McConnell, David


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Cassandra Greenbaum